Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Dirtying the water

I am interested rivers and sediments and what is happening to our urban rivers and what happens when the water runs out into bay. There is not much doubt that we as urban residents are putting a bunch of stuff into the storm water which then goes out into the rivers and bay. In the little lane in the inner city that runs past my office where I am writing this is an example of what happens in microcosm. It is a tiny bluestone lane. And there is sediment that washes out into the drain in the middle on a day to day basis - year in year out - but it is small. What is making a difference is construction. Three sites are in various stages of development. One small house that backs onto the land is nearing completion, now they have timbered over what was once a garden to create and 'outdoor room'. The waste the washed into the land was mainly sand  - and some sawdust, food wrappings. There was a surprising amount of sand from such a small development. Further up they have knocked the back of a commercial building and brought in a bobcat to shovel out a lot of mud. And now the lane is coated in mud. And that will all wash into the river and ultimately into the bay. So to me it seems on a scale that is happening all over this city, construction is the issue. As we shorten the life cycle of our domestic buildings - the throw-away society driven by fashion - we create sediment to make our rivers and creeks and bays dirty. We clog them with sediment and make it tough for life to thrive in turbid waters.